Every day around noon on our Celebrity Solstice cruise through the Caribbean, Captain Gary would come booming over the loudspeaker and give the thousands of passengers longitudinal information we didn't understand, distance information equally confusing (sea miles vs. regular miles?) and the he'd sign off with a little joke. Three examples and I quote: "Man who walks in front of car will get tired; man who walks behind car with get exhausted and man who stands on toilet will get high on pot."

On New Year's Eve, hour after he deftly U-turned to drop off a passenger in St. Maarten for undisclosed reasons, we saw Capt. Gary sipping champagne with the revelers around the pool deck. He cemented his amiable personality on the last night in the big theater after the standup comic suggested next time, the over-70 crowd avoid napping in public spaces because, well, it's hard to be sure they're napping.

 Gary surprised us when he came up and strapped on an acoustic guitar for a nice version of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl." Then, with the Asian cover band that had been playing nonstop in every bar and ship grand stairwell all week, Captain Gary went electric with a version of "Sweet Home Alabama" fit for an SNL skit.

But now, after the shipwreck off Italy, I'm lefting wondering a could things:

How rigorous is Captain Gary's training and certification?

Will the cruise industry survive with its floating Old Country Buffet, very 20th century (two formal nights in a week, really?) ways?

But mostly, I'm left with a sense of gratitude for Captain Gary and his mates, for steering us clear without us ever thinking twice about safety or life and death drama that unfolded in the Mediterrean. So, thanks Gary, for the jokes, songs and getting us into port.